“The grass is always greener on the other side.” From time to time, so many of us forget how good we actually have it, or forget how special the loved ones in our lives really are. This sobering thought get a comedic turn in the 1952 George Axelrod play, The Seven Year Itch, currently charming audiences at The Cassidy Theatre. The “Itch” explores a phrase that was used by psychologists to explain a feeling of declining interest, or a need for a change, after several years of marriage. In 1955, this play was produced as a film, and starred Marilyn Monroe and Original Broadway star Tom Ewell. The film features the iconic scene of Monroe standing on top of a subway grate, as her white dress is blown around by a passing train underneath.
Director Jenna Messina has assembled a great cast to create a well-paced, and well-acted production. Her direction highlights well staged “Fantasy moments” that offer insights as to what the main character would love to see happen based on his selfish decisions, or insights into how it could go all go to pot, with the wrong decision.
For the story, Richard Sherman (a very funny Jim Dove), is tempted by a beautiful neighbor (fetching Madeline Krucek), while his wife Helen (Aleece Roach) and son Ricky (Mason Kruse), are away for the summer.
The anchor of the evening is Dove. He is engaging, personable, and has a lovable Jackie Gleason type quality. He deftly navigates through this journey of tortured obsession to comedic delight. The audience ate him up. The part is huge, and Dove always managed to find fresh, funny way to keep us engaged. As The Girl, which is the only reference to her in the script, Krucek does a knockout job. Embodying a role made famous by Monroe, Krucek takes her time and established her own characterization. She is as fearless on stage, as she is beautiful. Creating her own complex demure temptress, with layers of survivor skills and naiveté. While the higher register voice wears after a bit, Krucek overcomes that with engaging appeal and comedic skill.
The supporting cast is terrific. Aleece Roach (Helen) takes a fine turn as the wife. Radiant, beautiful, and saucy. I really enjoyed Neil Donnelly as the Radio Announcer, turned advice giver, a lot. He has a film noir flair and Bogart swagger to his delivery. Even announcing the ball game was interesting. Special shout out to Brandon-Soeder Penner as Dr. Brubaker, for knowing the combination to the suitcase, when it wouldn’t open. Nice catch.
This is a great evening out, especially for the older crowd that remembers this classic film. And yes, the dress does arrive on stage to grand delight.Time to grab your parents and head out to the theatre. But the night I attended, all ages were there. Funny is funny, no matter what age.
Direction and Costumes Jenna Messina, Stage Manager Lou Petrucci, Props by Sue Overton, Lighting by Jeremiah Landi, Set by Kenneth Slaughter, and Sound by Slaughter and Messina (which sounds like a great band name)
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$14-$15 Reserved Seating
6200 Pearl Road
Parma Heights, OH 44130